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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Trump Cowers Before Putin, Says He Is with Kim

In Defying the Odds, we discuss Russian involvement in the 2016 campaign  The update  -- just published --includes a chapter on the 2018 midterms.

A 5/3 press availability:
Q Mr. President, did you address the election meddling issues that came up in the Mueller Report with Mr. Putin today?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: We discussed it. He actually sort of smiled when he said something to the effect that it started off as a mountain and it ended up being a mouse. But he knew that because he knew there was no collusion whatsoever. So, pretty much, that’s what it was. It started off —
Q Did you tell him not to meddle, Mr. President? Did you tell him not to meddle in the next election?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Excuse me. I’m talking. I’m answering this question. You are very rude.
So we had a good conversation about many different things. Okay?
Q Did you ask him not to meddle? Q Did you tell him not to meddle in the next election?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: We didn’t discuss that. Really, we didn’t discuss it. We discussed five or six things. We also — we went into detail on various things, especially, I would say, the nuclear. Especially, maybe, Venezuela. We talked about North Korea at great length, and pretty much that’s it.
Also discussed trade. We intend to do a lot of trade with Russia. We do some right now. It’s up a little bit. But he’d like to do trade and we’d like to do trade.
And getting along with Russia and China, getting along with all of them is very good thing, not a bad thing. It’s a good thing. It’s a positive thing. Getting along with other countries — including your country, by the way — but getting along with countries is a good thing. And we want to have good relationships with every country.
A week ago, FBI Director Chris Wray told the Council on Foreign Relations:
Foreign influence—malign foreign influence—we usually use to describe the fairly aggressive campaign that we saw in 2016 and that’s described in the special counsel’s report, and that has continued pretty much unabated, is the use of social media, fake news, propaganda, false personas, et cetera, to spin us up, pit us against each other, sow divisiveness and discord, undermine Americans’ faith in democracy. That is not just an election-cycle threat; it’s pretty much a 365-days-a-year threat. And that has absolutely continued. We saw that, therefore, continue full speed in 2018, in the midterms. What we did not see in 2018 was any material impact or interference with election infrastructure or, you know, campaign infrastructure.


NYT:
 Saturday’s weapons tests were the most serious by the North since the country launched its Hwasong-15 intercontinental ballistic missiles in November 2017. Although North Korea has not gone so far as to renege on its moratorium on nuclear and ICBM tests, which its leader, Kim Jong-un, announced last year, the Saturday launch indicated that Mr. Kim was toying with the idea of lifting the moratorium, analysts said.